Welcome to the first installment of the SGY Roundtable blog post series! In this bi-weekly column, we want to share with you the current discussions and thoughts of some of the fibre artists around the studio.
This week we’d like to introduce you to some of the personalities who will be contributing to the Roundtable. You might recognize some of these names from other posts featured on Felicia’s blog, from helpful chatter on our Raverly forum, or if you have dropped by the studio to pick up some yarn or attend a class.
The topic we brought to the table was…
Please introduce yourself! How long have you been playing with the yarn? What are your favorite fibrecrafts? How long have you been with SweetGeorgia Yarns? What is your role at the studio? And why did you want to work here in the first place?!
I’m Ginny and I’ve been an avid crafter and manipulator of fibre, yarn, and wooly things as long as I can remember. My grandmother and mother are talented seamstresses and tailors, so I was using a sewing machine before I knew how to ride a bike and it was natural for me to crochet and knit as well. I didn’t start spinning until a few years ago, just after I moved to Vancouver from near Calgary, but it is now a large part of my life. I am just getting into weaving as well and have extensive fantasies about dyeing and weaving historically accurate woad linen shifts.
I began following Felicia’s blog while I was still in high school. If you had told me in 2006 that 8 years later I would be living on the coast and dyeing yarn for SweetGeorgia I wouldn’t have believed you!
The merging of traditional techniques with modern tools and the hands-on chemistry of the dyeing studio is a pleasure in every sense. I dye some of the semi-solids on both yarn and fibre, and get to handle and package the products we send out to retailers and customers. Every day I get to see new colour combinations and how every colourway looks on every yarn and fibre. Seeing the yarn go from undyed bundles to tidy little skeins and cakes is so exciting and full of inspiring surprises! I am incredibly lucky to be a part of the process and I hope our roundtable series is able to share some of that magic with you.
Liisa: The humble Nordic enforcement of the team.
“(Did they say ‘humble’? And did they really mean it?!)”
My career at SweetGeorgia began on a sunny September day 18 months ago, when I sent Felicia an unassuming e-mail insisting that she “really really REALLY should hire me”. Not fully realizing what she was agreeing to, and to my continuous surprise, she agreed. Within two months I had quit my day job as a yarn store manager in Finland, put my postgraduate studies on hold, and moved to Vancouver.
At the studio I dye variegated yarns and fibres, teach classes, prepare stuff for shipping, and as the designated quality controller, occasionally point my finger at things and loudly exclaim ”That, sir, is ugly.” Being part of SweetGeorgia is the ultimate dream-come-true… it’s my personal and professional platform to make the world more colourful, more exciting and more obsessive towards all things fibery.
I learned to knit from my grandmother at the tender age of five, after which yarn has been an inseparable part of my being. Spinning came into the picture just over a year ago. Weaving is still off-limits, because I’m not allowed to take on yet another time-consuming obsession until I’m done watching both ‘The Wire’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ (apparently).
Being a relative newcomer to Canada I do my best to spread my Finnish heritage of silently staring into nothingness, being a terrible loser, and making babies sleep in cardboard boxes. I am also very particular about the extra ‘I’ in my name (remember — one is no fun, two means ‘woo-hoo’).
Generally my intentions are peaceful, and I can easily be bribed with cake.
Hi there! My name is Grace, and I have been a member of the SweetGeorgia team since Spring 2013. I used to be in the animation industry, but last year I decided to take a chance and try something new. I have been a fibre fanatic for a while now… I started knitting about ten years ago. I needed a way to relax in the evenings besides playing video games. On a whim, I bought a few ‘how-to’ books and taught myself to knit at home. It did not take long to become hooked.
I became curious about spinning not long after, but I held back actually trying it for years. I had this funny feeling that if I actually starting spinning, it might take over my life as much as knitting had, and I only had so many hours in a day!
However, a couple of years ago I tried a drop-spindle class at my LYS, and I have never looked back. Now I split my crafting time between knitting and spinning, trying to complete a bit of both for at least a few minutes every day. I joined the Greater Vancouver Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild and found a terrific community ready to support my hobby with fantastic mentors, lectures, and opportunities for classes. I haven’t tried weaving yet, but I know it’s on the horizon. I started writing a few of my own knitting patterns and created a blog to feature my fibre adventures here.
Last spring I started working at the SGY studio as a studio assistant. After a few months, I was trained as a variegated dyer. I contribute to Felicia’s blog as a guest author and work in other ‘media’ related fields to help build the online community around SweetGeorgia. I also teach spinning classes here at the studio; I love helping other people discover the pleasure of creating their own yarn!
Why did I want to work here? I wanted to work with my hands. I wanted to surround myself with colour. I wanted to be in an inspiring place every day that brings creativity to people’s lives. Everyday I get to learn something new while I am helping others. How cool is that?!
Needles and string have been a part of my life since birth… no kidding, I swallowed a sewing needle when I was a baby.
I fell in love with textiles when I was very young after watching my mom sew her own dress from fuschia silk fabric. Taking her leftover fabric, I would secretly slip into the basement to play with her sewing machine until I finally broke it. I then taught myself to knit from a free booklet from Patons… and then switched back to sewing my own clothes in high school (when my mom replaced her sewing machine). Today, I’m equally obsessed with knitting, spinning, sewing, weaving, and (just recently) quilting. But being a former graphic designer and daughter of a painter and printmaker, my greatest obsession has been with colour and texture.
In 2004, I started this little blog to document my knitting projects and it morphed into a place where I could share my experiences in learning to spin and dye my own yarn. Unexpectedly, over the past 10 years this blog has grown into a studio where we come together every day to inspire others to express their own creativity through colour. And now, my “work” (if you can call it that) is to draw beautiful things into the light… whether that is creating new colourways or collaborating with knitwear designers to make new patterns or even working with talented, amazing people or curious students and encouraging them to grow.
Well, there we have it! You’ve been introduced to our crack team of correspondents and dyers here at the SGY studio. We hope to see you again two weeks from now — we’ll be discussing our favourite fibre types!